When Rolling Stone‘s Andy Greene jumped on the phone with Iggy Pop to chat about the Stooges’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, the singer opened up about the current Stooges lineup — with James Williamson back on guitar — and the status of new Stooges tunes. Read Pop’s thoughts on the RRHOF here.
How are things going with James Williamson back on guitar?
When Ron [Asheton] passed away, we had six shows committed for the summer following. And I had built up such a sort of a mission muscle you could call it, around this group, that I just couldn’t think about quitting or not showing up. It was a “nothing will stop us” mentality that I’d adopted that served us well. So I called James, who had accidentally coincidentally called me that year anyway, and asked if he’d do the fill-in. He turned me down for that but we started talking and he said, “Look I’m about to retire next yearâ€¦ rather than buy a Winnebago, I thought I might go out and do some rock & roll.” So it started like that.
It’s been real interesting. He still working for Sony electronics and he belongs to an honorific society, the I.I.E.E, Institute of International Electronic Engineers, who published a very unintentionally funny front-page story in their most recent newsletter saying, “I.I.E.E. member joins Iggy and the Stooges.” Every couple of days, I get calls from him, “I’m in Tel Aviv, I’m in Berlin, I’m in Tokyo… ” I sometimes think he’s actually working for the CIA.
For many years I played Stooges songs with every sort of backup musician and they all had to try to pee on [Ron]. Everybody had to put their mark on the thing. James is just trying to play them like Ron would; he does them his own way.
Are you talking about recording new songs with James?
Well, we already wrote one called “Pain in the Ass,” so we got that and were thinking about writing a B side and sticking out a street single. We had a beautiful piece, an acoustic piece that we wrote and didn’t play for anyone, about Ron’s passing. I don’t know if I wanna make that one public or not. We’re doing a little writing while trying to avoid the burden of the major sexagenarian statement. Here it is, what everybody’s just been waiting for: A bunch of guys who are 60 years old, one of whom has 20 studio albums, 69 albums on eBay, makes a new statement and that will cost you plenty of loot.
Are you talking about doing Raw Power straight through? All the songs?
Only for certain shows. Only the ones where that is the condition of our employment. When we were in Brazil, it was “Raw Power,” “Kill City” we played next. Then we did “Search and Destroy,” then “Gimme Danger,” then we threw in one of those older ones called “Cock In My Pocket.” We switched over and did some stuff from Fun House to switch it up a little. They sound bitching. Except “Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell,” that’s the biggest one to chew off. It’s just this diatribe and it’s pretty complicated, so they’re starting work on that in January and then I’m gonna work with them in March and take a deep breath. Try to get that one going.
• The Stooges, Genesis, ABBA Lead the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010
• Iggy Pop on His “Emotional Reaction” to the Stooges’ Hall of Fame Induction
• Ron Asheton Remembered